The image above is a picture taken three or so years ago when I was heading home after visiting St. Louis for a writing workshop. My seatmate took it after I pointed out how beautiful the scene was. She sent the picture my way and it's now one of my favorite images. The trip to St. Louis was a God-ordained event, a story too long to share at present. Let's just say that as I flew past this beautiful display of God's creation it reminded me that God is, indeed, in the details.
Psalm 37:23 The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. (NLT)
I walk through the living room, toys, games, clothes scattered everywhere. It's like navigating my way through a minefield. The dirty clothes pile is overflowing from the laundry room into the hallway, threatening to take over the entire second floor. In the kitchen, pots and pans have collected in the sink like age-old artifacts. Hardened sauces, soups, and casseroles stick to each one. The floor is covered in pet hair and long past due its regular mopping. Little smudges of fingerprints and hand prints mark the sliding glass door.
Toothpaste covers the bathroom sinks. Chocolate, at least I hope that's what it is, covers the light switches in ooey-gooey ickiness. Most of the bathrooms smell like a little boy with bad aim has frequently visited them. Everything is a disaster. It makes my head swim. I head to bed delaying the inevitable. My messy house is just too much to deal with on a Saturday night.
On Sunday, I wake up feeling refreshed and rested. Then I remember the condition my house is in, and I'm tempted to bury my head in the pillow and never come out. Having no options but to tackle the mess, I swing my legs over the side of the bed and whisper a desperate plea heavenward, "I don't know how it's going to happen, but, oh God, please help me get the house back in to order today.”
An hour or so later, the kids are fighting, I've barely made a dent in the mess, and I'm about ready to lose my mind. Then, inspiration strikes. I've called my kids down for breakfast seven times and have been ignored all seven times. So, I try something new. When they finally come down, I mention that they ignored me seven times and now they owe me seven chores.
It works like a charm. I may be on to something. There's a lot of cleaning that can get done when your children each owe you seven jobs. And the jobs have to be done up to Mommy standards—no half-hearted efforts today. If I'm dissatisfied with a job they've done, I supervise them until it's done correctly.
Walking through a much cleaner house, I smile gleefully. Maybe I can make this work in my favor for the entire day. In the afternoon, when they begin fighting like cats and dogs, I implement my plan once more. The extra jobs thing worked pretty well when they ignored me, why not try it again? When another altercation between them commences, I'm ready. "You have too much energy," I tell them, "You obviously need to burn some of that off. Every time you argue, you get a new job."
All afternoon long, all evening long, I give my little minions chore after chore . . . done up to my standards. By bedtime, my house is clean and I've barely lifted a finger all day.
Before I tuck her in, I reveal my important secret to my daughter. "Katie," I tell her, "I prayed this morning that God would help me get our disaster of a house back in order, and He answered my prayer."
She looks at me, a funny expression on her face, "Oh, Mommy, that's ridiculous. God doesn't care about stuff like that."
So, I tell her the story, how God cares about every detail of our lives. What's more, I tell her that He even has the hairs on our head all numbered. "Can you do that, Katie?" I ask, "Can you count the number of hairs on your head?" She gives me a silly grin. I can tell she's intrigued.
I go to bed that night, a satisfied smile on my face. My house is clean, and I know it's more than just a fluke. I prayed. God answered. It's as simple as that.
God's in the details, folks. He is. If you don't believe me, try it yourself. Pray about your problem, no matter how small it may be. Even your most "insignificant" problem is important to Him. Maybe it's time you started believing that.
Matthew 10:29-31  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b]30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Happy are those who are strong in the Lord who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping it will become a place of refreshing springs where pools of blessing collect after the rains.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
The following is a post that I wrote a few years back about how hard it is to have faith in a God we can’t see, in a God who speaks to us primarily through his word. I do feel the fool at times for believing in things I can’t see, but after all crazy faith is what life is all about.
My family is going through some major changes right now. I’ll be sharing a little bit more about that next week. For now, let me just say that I wish God would have given us a road map for this thing we call life.
In the past few months, there have been many times when I’ve wished that a little map of my life would miraculously fall from the sky. That way when I came to a fork in the road, I would know the right way to go—the thing God wanted me to do.
But whether I believe it or not, God is there to guide me in all types of situations and circumstances.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Still, I do wait for the day when that map of my life falls from the sky and shows me the right path to choose each and every time I come to a fork in life’s road. It would make things so much easier if I had that map. But then again where’s the fun in knowing where to go next?
October 3rd, 2012
Once traveling it's remarkable how quickly faith erodes. It starts to look like something else-ignorance, for example. Same thing happened to the Israelites. Sure it's weak, but sometimes you'd rather just have a map.
From Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.
Reading an awesome book right now and came across this quote. The book is actually fictional although it sounds like a religious book. Intriguing story. Mostly, I wanted to quote this author because what he wrote struck a particular chord with me today. I feel the pain the character in this story is experiencing. How often I feel the fool for believing in things I can't see, things that make no sense.
Even though I can "talk the talk" when it comes to faith it's much more difficult to "walk the walk." I had to smile when I read that "sometimes you'd rather just have a map" comment. I feel that way often. God why can't just spell it out in plain language, what exactly do you want me to do?
Not only do I wish he'd give me explicit instructions about how to live, but sometimes I have a hard time believing everything he says. I do feel naive. I do feel the fool. What craziness to believe in a Maker, a God who created everything out of nothing. Sounds more like a bedtime story than a place to lay a foundation of faith.
It’s then that I realize more than anything that what I'm suffering from is not a lack of faith, but a vain desire to appear more sophisticated, wise, intelligent to the world. I don't want to be the one that everyone thinks is a "little over the top" when it comes to things of God.
Oh, how fickle the human heart. Not hard to see when I look at my own. Of course, to say that my faith is always shifting with the winds of change isn't exactly accurate either. God has brought me quite aways in this journey of faith. But I find that with a more deeply rooted faith come bigger challenges, greater obstacles, and more painful trials to endure.
Sometimes I wish it weren't so hard. For my friends who are runners, I often think of it as a "race" of life. I'm a terrible runner, but maybe, hopefully, in the case of faith I run a good race—a race worth cheering about.